History. In 1862, the first Catholic church in Dyersville was completed and located in the lot immediately south of the Basilica. Already in 1869, its size had to be doubled to accommodate the increasing number of Catholics moving into the area. By 1880, the Catholic population had again outgrown the enlarged church, and in September 1887, construction on the present Basilica was started. The cornerstone of the church was laid on June 3, 1888, and on December 3 1889, the new church was dedicated by Bishop Hennessy of Dubuque. In recognition of the architectural attributes of the church and the fervent faith of the congregation, St. Francis Xavier Church was raised to the rank of a minor Basilica in 1956- by a proclamation of His Holiness Pope Pius XII. At that time, St. Francis Xavier was the twelfth church in the country to receive such an honor. Today the Basilica of St. Francis Xavier is one of 53 basilicas in the United States.
Some Statistics: 1. The height of each spire is 212 feet. 2. The exterior dimensions are 70x175 feet. 3. The height of the church is 76 feet. 4. The height of the side wall if 40 feet. 5. The base of each spire is 20 square feet. 6. The diameter of the face of the clock is 6 feet. 7. The gold leaf crosses are 6'8" wide and 14' tall. 8. There are 64 burnt colored Cathedral windows in the church. 9. Seating capacity is 1,200 people. 10. The original construction cost was approximately $100,000.
Visitor Information. North and South doors are unlocked from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. Printed information about the basilica can be found in the rear of the church or down below. Guided tours available by calling the parish office, (563) 875-7325.
Parish Committees and Meeting Minutes
Secretaries, Sharon and Laurie